The London Times
, of March 18th, has another direct correspondence from the rebel States, dated Augusta
, January 26th.
It is written (says the Cincinnati Enquirer
) in the usual style of the Confederate
correspondence of the Times,
more eulogistic of the rebels than even the rebel papers are themselves.
The following account of the powder mills established by the Confederate Government contains come valuable information:
When, upon the 13th of April, 1861, Fort Sumter
surrendered to General Beauregard
and the Confederates
, not one single pound of gunpowder was anywhere manufactured in the Confederacy
A rigorous blockade of the seaports of the South
was immediately commenced, through which the principal ingredient of gunpowder (saltpetre) had to be largely sucked in. At this juncture it seemed advisable to President Davis
to instruct to Colonel Raince
, formerly an officer of the United States army, the responsibility of planning and building a large Government mill for the manufacture of gunpowder.
For this post Colonel Raines
possessed eminent qualifications.
He had been professor of chemistry at West Point
, and for some years, since leaving the army, he had been at the head of some large iron works at Newburg
, on the Hudson
Augusta, in Georgia
, was selected as the site of the intended mill, and never, both as regards the person and the situation pitched upon, was happier sagacity evinced by the President
.--Following, so far as he was acquainted with it, the plan upon which the gunpowder mill at Waltham Abboy, belonging to the English Government
, is built, Colonel Raines
proceeded to construct the works necessary for his purpose; and the success which has attended his efforts has been such as could never have been believed before the pressure of war and privation had awakened Southern ingenuity and enterprise.
The result is that, at the cost of about £20,000, one of the most perfect gunpowder mills in the world has been produced, which turns out five thousand pounds of powder per day, and could produce double that amount if worked day and night, and much more if worked under the exigency of a pressing demand.
The cost of this powder, in spite of the costliness of the saltpetre which has been introduced through the blockade, is about four cents per pound, which is about the same as its cost in England
The mill has now been constantly at work for many months, and consequently more powder than the Confederacy
in likely to require for years to come has already been produced.
There is another Government powder mill at Columbia, in South Carolina
, working, I believe, to supply the wants (not very large as yet) of the Confederate navy.
But all the gunpowder issued for the service of the Confederate armies of Virginia
and the West
, and also for the defence of Charleston
, has come out of the mill at Augusta
; and it was stated to me by an ordnance officer in Charleston
that the powder which he had recently received there and tested was very nearly, if not entirely, up to the standard of the finest English manufacture.
The extreme deliberation with which the Confederate Government has engaged in many large and costly undertakings — requiring long time for their completion and much ingenuity in their design — is the best earnest of the quickness and confidence with which they have, from the very commencement, looked at their independence as at a thing which they could not fail to obtain.
These Government powder mills at Columbia
are by no means the sole achievements of the Confederates
at home in support of their soldiers in the field.
It may be noticed in the North
, and although the necessity for the erection of a Government powder mill has often been represented to the War Department at Washington
, no such mill has ever been erected.
It has been found that private interests have been too strongly represented in Congress to admit of the withdrawal of the Government
patronage from the great private firms in Connecticut
, between which it is, I believe, divided.
In hundreds of matters, that necessity, which was thought by the North
certain to crush the Southern
power of resistance, has but developed an energy for which the world — and especially England
— was very little prepared.